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Frequently Asked Questions

No. Waivers are not allowed at any time.

No. Austin police officers do not have residency requirements.

Two - Three. Applicants who live outside of Austin will be required to visit Austin twice during the hiring process.

  • The first trip is for the initial two-day testing period that consists of the physical and written tests, Nelson Denny exam, and oral board interview. Testing is typically scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday.
  • The second trip is for two to three days and consists of drug testing, along with the polygraph, psychological, and medical assessments. See APD Hiring Process for more information.
  • The third trip is for the physical testing re-test and mandatory orientation. This usually occurs 3-5 weeks prior to the start of the Academy.

Yes. The Austin Police Department pay schedule is one of the highest in the State of Texas and the nation. Eligible employees can increase their salary with some of the following pay incentives:

  • Specialties obtained such as bilingual pay, field training officer pay, and crisis intervention officer pay.
  • Educational incentive pay.
  • Shift differential pay.
  • G.I. Bill incentives for eligible military individuals during the academy and field training program.

See the Benefits and Salary page for more information.

Yes.  Military personnel and veterans who have, or are anticipated to have, an honorable discharge are eligible to apply. General discharge and uncharacterized discharge are also accepted but reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

  • Applicants who are currently in the military must provide a letter from their Commanding Officer stating the expected discharge status and date.
  • Active status military personnel can apply as long as they are available when the cadet class starts.
  • Applicants who are discharged must submit their DD-214 (Member 4 copy) for discharge status verification.
  • Applicants in the Military Reserves should advise their command of their academy training schedule to see if they will work with them while they are in the APD academy.

Yes. However, you may not attend school outside the APD academy during your training.

This will depend on the time since your last usage of marijuana or drugs/narcotics. Please refer to our Common Disqualifiers to review the list of disqualifiers. You will be required to take a drug test screening.

Yes. However, it depends on the reason for the discharge - it must be under honorable conditions. The Austin Police Department will review each general discharge and uncharacterized discharge on a case-by-case basis.

No. No one who was issued a dishonorable discharge, bad conduct, or other characterization of bad character will be accepted.

No. Required documentation must be the original or a certified copy. However, if you bring the originals to the recruiting office, we will make certified copies and return your originals.

Yes. All documents must be submitted with your Background History Statement prior to being scheduled to test. Applications that are incomplete or that do not have all the required documentation may be disqualified.

Sometimes. The Austin Police Department does not take lateral transfers but will occasionally schedule a special modified academy class. To find out more information check out the Modified Academy section of our website.

Yes. Many officers supplement their income with department overtime assignments from special events or patrol functions. Off-duty overtime (overtime outside the department) is also available for many officers at different locations within the City. Generally, individuals who graduate the academy are not allowed to work overtime during their initial 15-month probationary period.

Yes. APD offers internships to individuals who are interested in pursuing a career with the Austin Police Department.  Internships are designed to allow potential applicants to experience the daily operations within a law enforcement agency.  For more information check out the APD Internship Program.

Yes. Officers may have tattoos. However, if the tattoos are offensive in nature they must be covered up by clothing or arm bands. Applicants must submit photos of their tattoos with their Background History Statement. This policy is subject to change at the discretion of the Chief of Police.

If withdrawing, email the Recruiting Unit with your name and the reason for withdrawing. Failure to contact the Recruiting Unit may subject your application to disqualification.

If you need to reschedule your test dates, call the Recruiting Unit at (512) 974-6955. If you reschedule within less than 15 days of your testing dates you may be subject to disqualification.

Approximately 6 - 12 months. This timeframe depends on several factors including available test dates, how quickly your background investigation takes, and the academy start date.

Approximately 32 weeks. Upon graduation you will receive 1,280 hours of instruction.

Varies. The number of academy classes held each year depends on how many vacancies the department needs to fill. In the past, we have had 1-3 classes per year.

Varies. The number of cadets hired will depend on the amount of vacancies within the police department. Past class sizes have ranged anywhere from 25 to over 100.

Depends. The Department has a specific disqualification process. If you are disqualified, you will receive a letter notifying you of the date you are eligible to reapply.

Yes. The APD Ride Along Program is designed to give citizens a first hand view of what police work is like in Austin, Texas and are scheduled by the APD Public Information Office. Applicants are also required to do a ride along towards the end of their hiring process and will be scheduled by the APD Recruiting Unit.

  • Any citizen or applicant wishing to participate in the APD Ride Along Program can obtain information by contacting the Public Information Office at (512) 974-5017 or by viewing the ride along application forms --> Printable or Electronic. Follow these instructions after filling out one of the versions of the ride along form. 
  • Prospective applicants are encouraged to participate in the APD Ride Along program prior to applying

You should dress appropriately to all interviews; however, a suit or business attire will not be necessary until your oral board. The wearing of cut-off shirts, torn or faded clothing, gym attire, flip flops, sandals or shorts does not display the professional appearance we look for in our applicants. The only exception is that you are welcome to wear gym attire during the physical testing day.

Newly graduated police officers will enter the Field Training Program for 3 - 4 months of one-on-one training with various field training officers. Generally you are assigned to a patrol shift in one of nine sectors of the City. Your work schedule will be four 10-hour days, with three days off. Your days off will rotate every 28 days.

Honesty and integrity are important values found in Austin police officers. If you are found omitting important information or being deceptive, you will be permanently disqualified from the hiring process. You must successfully complete a background investigation and polygraph in order to continue in the hiring process.

Cadets do not live at the APD training academy. Work hours are normally Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are several training sessions during the academy where cadets will work weekends and evenings depending on the lesson plan or project. Regardless of your schedule, you typically do not work more than 40 hours in a given week during the Academy.